In search for lost time (UTC or local?)


Ah, this post is from my much beloved WLW!! And it remembers me Smile – I’d set up WLW as  keyword and it picked it up and linked to it – that’s something. And by gawd, WLW is an all around kick-ass blog client. I miss it deeply when I’m in my tux avatar. And now after diving deep into Linux, I see some awesome aspects of MS Windows. Sometimes, as in the case of time, an interesting dilemma turns up.

If you look at your watch, what time do you keep? UTC or your local? I think most of you and perhaps I too would laugh at this absurd question – not a doubt, I’d keep local time! And when you look at that clock on your screen what you expect is local time, and maybe you track a few other zones, like I do, so you want some other times too, but clearly – you do want local time.

Now, with default settings, in Linux you see your local time showing correctly when you look at the graphical clock. However, behind the scenes, Linux at the hardware level works on UTC (Universal Coordinated Time – I know it’s odd that the T and C are jumbled but look it up yourself!) and the developers thought it a great idea.

Microsoft shows local time on the clock, but with the difference that the machine’s time is set to the same. Which makes sense too, unless you fiddle a lot with time zones. However, put Windows and Linux on one machine (like I did) and you run into a nightmare with some fun discoveries for relief.

To resolve this you have to do one of two things:

  • Get Linux to work with local time, or
  • Get windows to work on universal

For Linux you’ll find quite a few sites showing you how to fix things, but for Windows, I was lucky to hit upon Arch Linux’s wiki entry which tells Windows that RealTimeIsUniversal – indeed! However, use it with care if your location uses DST.

One response to “In search for lost time (UTC or local?)

  1. Pingback: Debian Jessie on Dell Latitude 6220 | Staying Sane ... or tryin'

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